Was the life of a cowboy really so adventurous?

This lesson draws heavily on the ideas of Sarah Herrity, Advanced Skills Teacher, Wyvern Technology College, near Winchester. It moves students from their own initial perceptions of cowboys, through to the harsh realities of life. After an initial card sorting activity, students have to consider why the image we have of cowboys was created. By focusing on paintings by Russell, views of McCoy, and the importance of Dime novels, the lesson makes a significant contribution to source evaluation and an understanding of interpretations.

Learning objectives

  • students predict likely provenance of a source with reference to details in the source and what they already know
  • they analyse and categorise the different aspects of the life of a cowboy
  • they detect patterns and draw conclusions from these
  • they explain why different interpretations of cowboys have arisen

Stage 1

Students enter to the sound track of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (not provided). Ask them to think about the adjectives that come to mind when they see images of cowboys and hear music like that. Have slide 2 displayed at the time. When students are settled ask them where most of people’s understanding of cowboy life comes from?

Stage 2

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